Newspaper article provokes attacks on Islamic bookshop

Staff at a respected Islamic bookshop in central London have been the victims of an intensive campaign of abusive phone calls and personal threats after it was pictured in an article accusing London bookshops of selling pamphlets urging Muslims to wage holy war.

The shop Dar Al Taqwa, near Baker Street, has been run as a family business for more than 20 years. It’s one of the oldest and biggest Islamic bookshops in London and sells books on the Qur’an, Arabic, travel and academic books on Islam. But it became the target of an intense hate campaign after the Evening Standard carried an article claiming a journalist had bought two pamphlets on jihad from the bookshop that sanctioned the killing of women, old men and children.

The same article showed pictures of three books and videos, which it alleged advocate terrorism, suggesting that they were also for sale from bookshops like Dar Al Taqwa. But Dar Al Taqwa has never sold any of this material.

Ammie El-Atar, whose father owns the bookshop, said: ‘We have never stocked [the books pictured]. These stories are a gross misrepresentation and simply not true. ‘We’ve had constant abuse and threats since the stories appeared with people threatening to kill us and firebomb the shop.’

The Londoner, September 2005